What Is A Golf Mulligan?

So maybe you are new to the game and are wondering what is a golf mulligan?  You stand on the first tee and you see that your player partners tell each other that they are allowed to use a mulligan on the first tee or what some may call a “breakfast ball”.  Your mind starts to race to different places wondering what a mulligan is.

So, What Is A Golf Mulligan?

A golf mulligan is when a golfer takes a second shot from the same spot without a penalty stroke.  These most typically occur on the first tee shot of the day. Others will give so many mulligans throughout the round to try to keep a match fair or to help out a weaker golfer.  Other names include a “mullie” or a “breakfast ball”

Why a Mulligan is given?

Many golfers rush to get to the golf course and have very little time to warm up.  Whether the golf is coming straight from work or a prior commitment he or she may not be loose and the playing partners are trying to take the stress out of the first tee. 

The serious golfer doesn’t like the mulligan because they want to follow the exact rules of the game. However, when the serious golfer is golfing with a beginner or someone completely new to the game, he or she can loosen up a bit and make sure that golfer enjoys their round.

Different Ways to Utilize Mulligans?

If two golfers of different ability levels are playing, the stronger golf might grant the weaker golfer 2-3 mulligans per 9 holes.  This can help with the missed 4 foot putt or the tee shots that slices severely to the right, off the house and outbounds.

It can keep the round interesting and the match closer.  Many high handicap golfers have those 2-3 shots per round that just destroy their score. The mulligan allows the golfer to re-hit and stay in the match.

Are Mulligans Legal?

Mulligans are not allowed in the game of golf when following the actual rules.  The closest time someone comes to hitting a second shot without penalty right at the moment is when a golf hits a provisional shot. 

This provisional shot might not even be used if the first ball is found and it is in play. The provisional shot is to keep the golfer from having to walk back to the original spot of the shot if the ball is lost or is out of bounds.

Most Broke Rules in Golf

Issues with Mulligans?

Many rounds of golf nowadays are already taking over 4 hours.  If someone is constantly playing a mulligan it often can add a significant amount of time to the round. 

Not only does the person have to take time to hit the ball, but then the golfer also needs to find the ball.  This can add time especially if several people per group are doing this throughout the entire 18 holes.

When you play a really solid round of golf and someone asked how you did and you tell them you shot par, they may jokingly ask, “how many mulligans did that take.” 

In the United States the mulligan off the first tee, especially when someone has warmed up, seems somewhat acceptable. However, once the money is on the line or there is some sort of competition, don’t expect to get the mulligan.

How To Avoid the Mulligan?

Get to the course in plenty of time and carry a wiffle ball or birdie ball and at least try to take 2-5 swings where you are striking a ball.  This will help you feel loose and have more confidence on the first tee. Often times, we struggle on the first tee because we are anxious or nervous about the shot.

How to Overcome Nerves on the First Tee?

The reality is that many golfers, even in the best in the world, might be a bit nervous to get the round going well and start off.  You will find more people around the first tee than any other hole because others are sometimes waiting for their tee time.

Take your time, take a deep breath and focus on making a smooth swing.  Make sure you finish your backswing and that you don’t get quick in the downswing. Also, considering take the 3 wood off the tee to get your round off to a good start.

When Shouldn’t you Take a Mulligan

1 – Time: If the course is crowded and there are a lot of people waiting around the first tee, just hit your first shot and get going.  The first shot isn’t going to make or break your round. If every golfer took a second shot on the first tee, it is only going to take everyone that much longer to finish a round of golf.  Golf already takes too long. Do your role in making sure that the course plays at a reasonable pace that day.

2 – Busy Course: When the course has a course has a group of two on every hole you should avoid the mulligan and make sure you are doing everything to play at a four hour pace.  On a crowded course, if every golfer is hitting 3-4 mulligans per round, you are going to slow everyone’s round for that today.

3 – Weather Conditions: Playing in the weather conditions is difficult enough.  Playing a slow round in poor weather conditions is even worse. The conditions already slow the round down and mulligans will make it even longer.

4 – Player Partners: Some playing partners really enjoy playing by the rules of the game and if you constantly hitting another shot it can be a distraction.  Get to know the preferences of your playing partners and respect those that want to play by the rules and maintain a quality pace. If you are new to the group, see how the group members respond to certain situations.

5 – Money on the line: Often times when someone is putting some of their money on the line, the seriousness increases and people want to play real golf.  Avoid the mulligan in this situation as well.

6 – 8 Minute Tee Times: Some courses will jam the course full by sending a group out every 8 minutes.  Make sure you keep pace and avoid the mulligan, even on the first tee.

How To Get Better at Golf?

The number one way to make sure you don’t need a mulligan is to work on your game and try to get better.  We understand that not everyone has a great amount of time to practice and take the game seriously. However, spending as a little as one hour per week practicing your short game can make a significant difference in your game. 

We would recommend spending time time on the practice green at your local public golf course.  Try out different games we have listed here.  

One quick tip when you are at the driving range – try to simulate the course that you might be playing the next day or for your next round.  Imagine that first hole and picture the boudaries that exist.

Go ahead and go through your routine and pick your target and then step up and hit the shot.  Once you figure out what direction your ball went, simulate what you 2nd might be like and set your boundaries once again.

Go through your routine, pick out your target and hit the appropriate club for that distance.  If that first hole was a par 4 you may be done and go ahead and follow the routine for the 2nd hole.

You will find that playing the course on the range will help you be better prepared for the shots you will face during your next round of golf.  This routine is a lot better than standing there and hitting 7 iron after 7 iron or driver after driver.

It gets you thinking about a target, feeling a bit of the pressure and then forcing you to hit a shot that somewhat matters.

Another great game around the putting green is to take one ball and see how many times out of 10 you can get up and down to save your par.  Pick various spots around the practice green, hit your chip shot, grab you putter and see if you can make it. Track this stat over the next 10 weeks and see if you improve.  Have your go to shot for your chipping and focus on getting up and down from various locations.

Take Action…

Golf is a great game, it is even more enjoyable the better we play.  Check out our top 5 online golf instructors, here. Also consider training to improve your overall swing speed by checking out our SuperSpeed Golf Review, here. 

Make sure you use discount code Golfjourney365 for a 10% discount at SuperSpeed Golf.

If you are tired of playing below your potential, check out some of our resources, learn more about the game and ultimately get out there and practice. What are you waiting for?  

We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.

Check out our Recommended Products page on Golf Swing/Training Aids, Golf Balls, Golf Shoes and more.

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